Breaking News

Ill Treatment on Student Protesters in Belarus; At least 62 Students Detained

Ill Treatment on Student Protesters in Belarus; At least 62 Students Detained

Thousands of students marked the first day of term on Tuesday by going on strike and taking to the streets in support of the protests, many carrying the historic Belarusian white-red-white flag used by the opposition,  as demonstrations against President Alexander Lukashenko's controversial reelection entered a fourth week.

Among them a number of student protesters were detained in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Tuesday after clashing with police, as they marched towards the Education Ministry building in the capital Minsk.

The Viasna human rights centre reported that at least 62 people were detained, including eight journalists. 

Mr Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, insisted he had the support of millions of Belarusians.

"I don't want my country to be cut into pieces," he said.

Rights monitor Viasna 96 said peaceful protests were met with a heavy-handed response from Belarusian security officers.

 Social media videos  show students breaking through police cordons as authorities attempted to force the crowd to change route. The officers in camouflage and balaclavas striking students, and then dragging them away to be loaded onto vans.

One protester, Tatyana Ivanova, said that students from the Minsk State Linguistics University ran into a campus building to avoid being detained, but police tracked them down there.

"It only fuels protest sentiments,” she said. “The more they beat and detain people, the more people understand that Lukashenko has lost.”

Protests against Mr Lukashenko's rule have continued across Belarus since the 9 August presidential election, which was widely regarded as rigged, and rejected by the EU and US as neither free nor fair.

Estimates by activists and local media suggest that between 3,000 to 5,000 students marched Tuesday to the city center's Independence Square. Much bigger protests of tens of thousands have taken place at the square in recent weeks.

No comments